1969 in suburban small town Canada. Ex-military man Jim Field, married with three high school aged daughters, wants to portray having the perfect, loving family to the outside world, which ...
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1969 in suburban small town Canada. Ex-military man Jim Field, married with three high school aged daughters, wants to portray having the perfect, loving family to the outside world, which is anything but reality largely based on his behavior and thus relationships with the other family members. While trying to be what he considers the model father, he cheats on his wife and is a bit of a blowhard. A prime example of his behavior was several years earlier canceling a family vacation to Disneyland impromptu in favor of a two week nuclear attack simulation, taking the family to live during that time in the locked bomb shelter in their backyard. His wife Mary, a former dancer, suffers from chronic clinical depression, exacerbated by family events including her relationship with Jim. Regardless, Jim truly has a protective attitude toward her. She spends most of her time in a semi-comatose state in front of the television while the girls help her self-medicate with alcohol. Each of the ...Written by
It seems fair to say that the title "Falling Angels" is plural so as to include not only the baby brother who somehow fell over Niagara Falls and whose picture is later given wings and enshrined behind wood paneling in the Field family's basement. It also describes the mother, Miranda Richardson, whose spirit has been gradually destroyed by her volatile, controlling, husband, until she is reduced to a morbidly depressed alcoholic with no life beyond the couch and television. Each of her three high-school age daughters are falling as well, away from the insular family where no outsiders are allowed to observe the sad dynamics, no help is asked for or accepted. Each family member is alone in coping with their emotions and longings. Still there is always the sense that this is a family with strong ties and feelings for each other.
The three sisters gravitate (fall) into outside relationships, whose merits and wisdom are not judged by the movie, but simply shown. The girls' future lives are being formed, and will always have been influenced by the events of the past -including forced confinement in a bomb shelter by their father as an exercise in preparedness. Even that act of well-intentioned cruelty is not judged too harshly by the film. It's a misguided deed done for the sake of the family. There is no angst or acting out or weepy reconciliation drama in this family. Instead there is some anger, some sadness, and some unspoken love.
The acting is first rate by all. Miranda Richardson is excellent as the fragile porcelain-like mother, drained of spirit, quietly detaching from life. The portrayal of the late 1960's is the most realistic I have ever seen. It's achieved not by the musical score, or the pop-culture icons of the period. Instead it is the 'feel' of the house and furnishings, the neighborhood, the clothing. And also, it shows how life then was somehow different than today quieter, more private at least for some of us and the families we grew up in during that time.
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